It seems that everyone is thinking about Back-to-School time. My daughter is literally counting the days and my oldest son told me last night he is so excited for the new school year to start! On everyone's blogs I see posts about how exciting this time of year is and how happy they are to be starting school soon.
All I have to say is:"You guys are all crazy!" I am loving my summer time! I would be content to have at least another month off! Forget about waking up early and being on a schedule! But, unfortunately, I cannot hold back the hands of time, so I will just make the most of it by linking up to all these fun Back-To-School type linkies!
First up, is this fun "Top 5 Teacher Must Haves" linky from Rachelle of Life is Sweet in Kindergarten! It also coincides with the "Rockin Resources" linky from Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory!
Here's my top 5:
1. Dry Erase Markers by the boatload! I buy mine at Staples - but I only buy them when they're on sale for $1 a pack! Sometimes they put the Endura Glide brand on sale, other times it's their own Staples brand, but they all work just fine. I teach my kinders to put the cap back on until they hear the "click" but still, dry erase markers go fast! We use ours every day, so it pays to stock up!
2. Coffee! I am supremely lucky in that our cafeteria staff make the coffee every morning (and sweet tea and non-sweet tea in the afternoons!). It rocks being able to get into work and refill my cup right away! We all chip in by bringing in cans of coffee, creamer and sweetener. My day just does not go right unless I have at least three cups in the morning (one at home and 2 at school). Did I mention the cafeteria also washes our coffee cups and keeps a supply on hand in case we forget to bring one from home? Yep, my school rocks!
3. Harry Kindergarten on youtube! Love his songs! Here's one of my faves:
4. Speaking of music - anything Dr. Jean, Jack Hartmann or Stephen Fite is perfect for my room! We are constantly singing or playings music in my room! We also have scarves that we use to dance with - there's something about floating those scarves in the air that can turn any day magical! This year I want to try to get some rhythm sticks made up too - yet another thing for my husband to help with :)
5. Manipulatives like mad! I cannot get enough manipulatives! I buy all different shapes/kinds and then I buy those littel novelty erasers and use those as well! I also got this set of trays that is fabulous for patterning, sorting, graphing and classifying:
Next up, a "Preparing for School" linky party from 6th Grade All-Stars to help out all those brand-new teachers out there! This is Mrs. Crouse's first linky so go show her some love!
- What grade do you teach? Kindergarten...at least I think so. Last year they switched me the day before school, so you never can tell for sure lol!
- What is the greatest advice you received during your 1st year of teaching? Be consistent and fair. Teach your procedures to death the first two weeks of school. It will make the rest of the year so much easier if you have that solid foundation! You should have a clear procedure for everything that goes on in your classroom - turning in work, going to the bathroom, answering questions, getting supplies etc etc etc.
- Do you have a checklist that you follow when preparing your classroom (include the checklist)? I do not have a checklist. That's something to think about for next year! I have my center signs so I know what areas I need to set up, other than that I just do whatever I think of as I think of it. Hmm, there's probably a more efficient way to do things - again something to think about!
- What are some must haves in your classroom that you cannot live without (ex. items, books, posters, management strategies)? Books, books and more books! I have a reading center, but I include books in every other center as well. I also keep books in their caddies on their tables. The more you have and the more accessible they are, the more likely your students will read! Haunt garage sales, used book stores and GoodWill to build up your supply! Oh and Scholastic $1 books are awesome - I always buy tons to give as gifts at Christmas, for birthdays or at the end of the year!
- What is something that all teachers should have in their classroom? A cozy reading space. I don't care what grade level you teach, you should have a comfy spot for reading - sitting in a desk to read just isn't the same thing. Grab an inexpensive throw rug, maybe a couple of bean bags or crate seats and voila, reading is much more inviting! My first year I bought a plastic kiddie pool, filled it with pillows and that was our reading spot - the kids loved it!
Alright, last linky of the day - promise!
My first piece of advice - and this goes for all grade levels - overplan! If you think it'll take 15 minutes, it'll probably only take 5. Conversely if you think it'll take 5 minutes, it'll probably take 15! Make sure you have enough to do, but also make sure that if you don't get to it all that it won't be a catastrophe - any must-dos should be tackled first (my school likes a first day writing assessment so I make sure to get that out of the way first!)
My first day (and really my first 2 weeks) is just procedures and familiarization. First thing - bathrooms - where they are and what the procedure is - including how to ask to go. Many of my littles are used to saying "I hafta use it!" at home when talking about the bathroom. So first up, I teach them that at school we simply ask "May I go to the bathroom? (or restroom)" I don't want to hear about them using it! Click here to grab my free power point presentation with 9 of my procedures - it's meant to give you a starting point to start thinking of how you will teach your procedures!
We also talk about food - breakfast and lunch time procedures. We practice holding a tray, walking with a tray and sliding it all the way onto the table! This is important to practice with empty trays before they get a fully loaded tray and dump it in the hallway!
Once we have those basic needs met we usually do a Scavenger Hunt. In the past I always do a Chester Hunt after reading The Kissing Hand, but I might switch it up this year and do Pete the Cat or maybe Max from "Where the Wild Things Are". There are so many great scavenger hunt ideas out there! This is perfect for introducing my kinders to the big scary school and all the new adults in a fun way. Plus, we get a treat at the end and what is kindergarten without treats, right?
Don't forget your camera too! I love taking pictures of my kiddos on the first day of school. I make a slide show at the end of the year and it's so much fun to see how they've changed in those 9 months!
I also teach them about using school supplies. The first day will just be pencils and crayons. We write with pencils and color with crayons in my room - that way I don't get crayon scrawled names that are illegible! My rule is "A good artist uses at least 4 colors!" I never stress about picking appropriate colors, to me if they want to draw red zebras that's just fine! I'll never forget hearing another teacher scold a child for coloring purple hair on a picture of a girl. She said "Real people don't have purple hair!" and made her redo the whole page. I casually walked over and asked the little girl about it a few minutes later (as she was coloring and sniffling at the same time) and she told me that her teenage sister actually did have purple hair!
Alright, that's it for now! I think this week I'll start working on detailed lesson plans for the first few days of school. I'll be sure to share what I come up with :)
By the way, don't forget about these two things:
My giveaway ends Friday! Click the picture to go enter :)
I'd love to see you at the meet-up this weekend! No blog needed!
Oh! and a big thanks to Mrs. Ehle of Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections who introduced me to Tagxedo via her blogpost yesterday! I played around with it today and made this with the names of my family:
I printed it out, thinking about making something for Monday Made It next week and then my oldest son picked it up, and pointed out that I had completely forgotten his name! So embarrassing! Needless to say that one went in the trash lol!
Then I tried the names of my kiddos from last year to see what it would look like with a whole bunch of names:
Wouldn't this be great to display in the classroom?
Yet another toy to play with :)
Hope you had fun visiting all these linkys with me! Make sure you head over and link up too :)